Saturday, January 19, 2008


Senate Bill 17 - Redevelopment Commission and Tax Increment Financing

SB 17 passed out of the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee by an 11-0 vote this week. Most of Senate Bill 17 provisions impose taxpayer friendly limits on the operation of local Redevelopment Commission.

Freedom of Speech wants to help you, the taxpayers, understand how TIF [Tax Increment Financing] areas affect our property tax bills.

1. Take a New Albany city map and draw 5 different circles on your map.

2. Put a dollar sign in each circle.

3. The new tax dollars collected in each circle go into a separate pot. These TIF dollars "DO NOT" go into the general fund to help hold down our property taxes.

4. New Albany has 5 TIF [Tax Increment Financing] areas:

* Grantline Road TIF
* Park East TIF
* Charlestown Road TIF
* Downtown TIF [Parking Garage]
* State Street TIF

5. 3 of these TIF [Tax Increment Financing] areas have add-ons so 5+3=8 total TIF areas in New Albany.

6. We have been told that NEW ALBANY has more TIF [Tax Increment Financing] areas than any other city in the STATE of INDIANA.

All areas outside the circles are left to pay the tax burden of supporting our city. New tax dollars in TIF districts are used in that TIF area only and NOT used to help hold down our property taxes.

Senate Bill 17 is IMPORTANT to help New Albany taxpayers!

New Albany working families pay higher property taxes because property tax levies aren't fully shared by local businesses receiving tax abatement's in TIF districts. Also, shortfalls affect local property tax burden of us taxpayers outside the TIF district.

Many TIF district abatement's, bonding, and eminent domain decisions are made solely in New Albany by unelected Redevelopment Commissioners. Some TIF districts collect more revenue than needed to make bond payments, and there is now little restriction on how a Redevelopment Commissions can spend this surplus revenue.

Redevelopment Commissions and TIF districts always help developers while infrequently improving the life of New Albany working families. The creation of TIF districts often result in urban, suburban, or retail sprawl and other tax and utility burdens. The jobs created are usually low-pay and low-benefit. In most cases TIF districts are improperly placed in areas where developers should pay their own way.

Developers make the profit, why should New Albany taxpayers foot the bill?

State Senate Bill 17, authored by State Senator Luke Kenley, includes sixteen provisions that limit the operation of Redevelopment Commissions. The most meaningful restriction is that proposed TIF bonds would be subject to PETITION and REMONSTRANCE.

Freedom of Speech knows that petition and remonstrance for TIF bonds is an important protection for New Albany property taxpayers . New Albany's local government is "dominated by campaign contributions" made by developers and their lawyer surrogates. Existing TIF law strongly favors developers.

We have been assured this is going to change on July 1, 2008.

TIF districts "are part of the problem and not the solution" for New Albany property taxpayers!

Petition and remonstrance checks the power of developers and their elected cronies to unfairly use TIF districts for developer profit at the expense of New Albany property taxpayers!